China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco) has announced the first export of its HJ-12 ‘Red Arrow’ Anti-tank Guided Missile (ATGM), seen as a ‘copycat’ Javelin ATGM, having the same range and penetration capability as the the baseline US-made weapon.
“Norinco made the delivery of containers carrying the missiles to foreign clients as of Wednesday, before the scheduled shipment date,” said a March 25 statement by the company released on its WeChat account, Chinese media reported today.
It was the first time a third-generation anti-tank weapon system developed by the Chinese company has been exported, according to the statement.
It does raise the question of which nation would need ATGMs at a time when the whole world is battling the coronavirus epidemic; Surely some nation involved in a conflict with another. China’s main arms customer is Pakistan to which it had sold attack drones in 2018. However, China has opened up markets in Asia such as Thailand and has customers in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia-Editorial comment.
“The delivery demonstrated the Chinese arms firm’s reliability and proved it can fulfill a contract even under seeming force majeure, overcoming difficulties and prioritizing the client’s interest,” an unnamed military expert was quoted as saying by state-owned publication, Global Times on Sunday.
Often compared with the FGM-148 Javelin missile used by the US military, the HJ-12, or Red Arrow 12, is a portable, fire-and-forget anti-tank missile domestically developed by Norinco, China’s biggest arms manufacturer by revenue.
It can hit targets including tanks, bunkers, small ships and helicopters from above, where armor is likely the thinnest, with a penetration capability of 1,100 millimeters. The HJ-12 enables soldiers to lock on target, fire and then move on. The ATGM is a ‘fire and forget’ missile having no guidance system.
In addition to the Lockheed Martin made ‘Javelin,’ the ‘Spike’ ATGM from Israel and Russian 9M133 Kornet-E are its main global competitors.